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Two Louisiana men are accused of viciously beating and stabbing a woman’s alleged rapist, before shooting the alleged rapist's victim in the head. They then left her body in an abandoned Navy base to keep her quiet about the violence, according to new court documents laying out the brutal crime.
Dylan Craddock, 27, and Cody Matthews, 33, are facing charges of second-degree murder in the death of popular Slidell waitress Brooke Buchler, 25, after her body was discovered at the abandoned base on August 23, just one day after she was reported missing, according to The Times-Picayune.
Police said in the court documents obtained by the newspaper that the men believed Buchler was “a liability,” after she witnessed them viciously attacking a man that she had accused of raping her. Both men are also facing charges of kidnapping and attempted murder in that attack.
Just days before she disappeared, New Orleans Police said Buchler had confided in several people that she had been raped by a man she knew.
Matthews and Craddock allegedly set out to seek retaliation. Buchler’s mother, Cristin Naquin told local station WWL that Craddock had been “good friends” with her daughter since high school and was “somewhat like a brother” to her.
The pair allegedly “severely beat” the man inside of Buchler’s apartment, stabbing him and leaving him for dead in a remote marshland, court documents allege. The man survived and was taken to a local hospital.
Investigators said Matthews and Craddock both fled to a hotel in St. Bernard Parish. Buchler had reportedly been with them at the hotel on August 21 before she disappeared and was found dead two days later by a squatter staying in the abandoned Navy base.
Police said Craddock’s phone records show he had been in contact with Buchler on the morning of August 21 and later appeared to be in the area where Buchler’s body was discovered, according to police.
Craddock’s phone also allegedly showed that on the morning of August 22 he told the mother of his children that he was planning to leave his phone at his mother’s home because he was going to be “making a drop,” which police said suggested he may have been trying to establish an alibi.
According to police, authorities also found photos on Craddock’s phone of both men at the naval site a week earlier, suggesting they knew the area.
Multiple witnesses also called a Crimestoppers hotline to report that Craddock had said he killed Buchler because she had become “a liability” that could implicate them in the earlier kidnapping.
Both men were taken into custody on Sept. 3 in connection with the man’s kidnapping and attempted murder. While behind bars on that charge, police said Matthews was recorded in a jailhouse phone call telling someone he “was present when Craddock killed Buchler.”
The additional second-degree murder charges for Buchler’s death were added on Oct. 1.
Buchler’s family described the waitress to WWL as a free-spirit, who loved the tv series “Game of Thrones” and often got tattoos of literary quotes, planets or a lotus flower.
Her godmother Rhonda Dallimore told the news outlet that a month before her goddaughter’s death Buchler had gotten involved with a man she met while on vacation in Florida, but the relationship had soon turned dark, sparking the deadly series of events.
“She just let everybody have a chance. And I’m afraid she met somebody who shouldn’t have it,” Dallimore said.
Craddock is currently being held on a $1 million bond at the Orleans Justice Center. Matthews, who is in custody at the St. Tammany Parish Jail, is being held on $625,000 bond.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder and kidnapping charges in the first case. It’s not clear whether they have entered a plea to the murder charge against them.
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